COMMENTARY: Remembering the Holocaust in Newfoundland and Labrador

An article by Gerhard P. Bassler published in St. John’s Telegram newspaper on Wed. January. 27th, 2021 in honour of International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Holocaust Survivors Betty and Andreas Barban met Dunfield at a party in 1952. Betty asked why her naturalization certificate had not arrived while Andreas had his. He answered with a stern look: “you shall be deported.”

Perhaps he intended this as a joke, but Betty was deeply shocked, she told me, and wondered how a Supreme Court judge could be so insensitive to the importance of a naturalization document for an Austrian who had to flee to China to escape the Holocaust. The Barbans were among some 26 families of Holocaust Survivors who were able to settle in Newfoundland after the way. Their warm reception suggests that the refugees of the 1930s would have been welcomed. Survivors were eager to integrate and willing to share their skills as business and music pioneers. They were an enormous asset to the community and helped make Newfoundland’s predominately British-Irish society multicultural. All this is now history, remembered only by people my age.

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